The Arizona Cardinals locked up another key member of their defense.
The team announced Thursday it has agreed to terms with linebacker Daryl Washington on a new six-year contract. It will keep the rising star in the Valley through the end of the 2017 season.
As per team policy, the exact terms of the contract were not disclosed.
“I feel really good, really good,” Washington said about the deal.
Washington said he was hoping something would be agreed on before the season started, and he had told his agent he wanted to be a Cardinal for a “long time”.
The Cardinals were happy to oblige.
“Two things that successful teams do consistently is build through the draft and keep their core players,” Cardinals general manager Rod Graves said in a press release. “Daryl has certainly lived up to the potential we all saw in him coming out of TCU in 2010 and he has established himself as one of the top young defensive players in the NFL. I know he feels, like we do, that his best football is still ahead of him and we’re thrilled that this deal gives him the opportunity to achieve that with the Cardinals.”
A second-round pick out of TCU in 2010, Washington has established himself as a dynamic playmaker for a defense many expect to be one of the NFL’s best in 2012.
Washington is the second high-profile defensive player to land a new contract this offseason, as the team already reached a new deal with Calais Campbell.
“We are looking at really taking over the defense, and really showing the organization that we’re worth the pay and worth being a part of this organization,” Washington said.
Washington is coming off a season in which he set career highs with 111 tackles, five sacks, 16 tackles for loss, two interceptions and seven passes defensed. While that performance helped land this new contract, the main reason for locking Washington up is the belief that the best is yet to come.
“I can always progress every year, that’s my whole plan,” he said. “To be a better player, a better person every season, every year.”
Not to say Washington, who has tallied 188 tackles, six sacks, three interceptions, nine passes defensed and one forced fumble in his career, will feel any extra pressure now that he’s in a different tax bracket.
“There’s more of a challenge to go out there and play as well as they expect me to play,” he said. “But I expect that more of of myself.”